2020 has been difficult for everyone.
There was the killer virus; and there was the seeming breakdown of society with lockdowns and quarantines. Mobility was limited, everyone was forced to stay at home.
The world experienced negativity like never before.
With this, comes the importance of self-care.
Everyone is hurting but seniors had it worst.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults are at a higher risk to Covid-19. Seniors account for 8 out of 10 Covid-19-related deaths.
Further, the decrease in mobility forced the already isolated seniors at their homes.
Even though restrictions are slowly eased, friends are still separated, families kept apart.
Seniors who live alone need to learn to care for themselves. Even though they have access to home care, they are their first and best carers.
Self-care is any activity that a person actively does to care for their own mental, emotional, and physical health.
Here are five steps a senior could take to care for themselves during this trying time.
1. Eat Healthy
It is difficult to maintain healthy eating habits, especially for seniors.
Age-related complications make it more challenging for them to prepare healthy meals. Often, the option becomes fast food or microwave dishes.
But as the saying goes, “we are what we eat.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “many of the diseases suffered by older persons are the result of dietary factors.”
Having a nutrient-rich and balanced diet is essential for self-care. And eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated.
Seniors could add fruits and vegetables to their diet. They could also have more whole grain-based foods. For protein, options like fish and beans are available.
The internet has a plethora of recipe ideas and suggestions.
These food items are readily available in most groceries and require little preparation.
2. Get Enough Rest
Sleep affects our physical and emotional health. This is true both for younger and older adults.
A good night’s sleep allows our body to repair any damaged cell.
It helps us in memory formation and concentration, and improves our immune system.
That is why, a good night’s sleep is easily one of the best self-care move that a senior can do.
As we age, sleeping becomes more difficult. Our bodies produce less melatonin, the hormone that causes us sleep.
What seniors could do is to sleep earlier in the evening, or to spend longer hours in the bed.
They could also make up for the lost sleep by napping on the day.
Exercise helps in reducing the risk of so many health problems, like heart attack, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
It helps in weight control. It improves muscle flexibility, balance, and strength—thus reducing the risk of fall-related injuries.
Not to mention that it improves a person’s mood. It should come as no surprise—exercise is necessary for self-care.
Instead of watching TV for an hour, a senior could spend it walking at their neighborhood or at a park. Instead of reading endless news about Covid-19, they could instead do yoga or calisthenics.
Just make sure to practice health precautions when going out like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
4. Minimize News Intake
With the Covid-19 Global Pandemic comes the phenomenon of “infodemic,” defined as the overabundance of information.
Most news are distressing—more so now—because of their sensationalized negative content.
And while it is necessary to stay informed, we don’t need to know everything all the time.
As self-care, consider taking breaks from television or social media. Set time on when you will consume them and actively avoid them throughout the day.
Turn off notifications from news apps. It would also help to limit your time on Facebook.
Spend your newfound free time doing more productive things, like reading a book, learning from a class, or catching up with a friend.
5. Self-care… With a Little Help from Friends
Humans are social creatures.
Now that mobility is limited and most people have extra time on their hands, it is easy to get isolated.
This could cause a downward spiral of sadness and depression and, worse, lack of will to live.
Luckily, technology has allowed us to socialize even with people far from us. Apps like Zoom or Skype can be utilized for videoconferencing with friends or families.
Sometimes, a simple phone call can ignite meaningful conversations. Everyone is having a hard time and could use a friend to talk with.
And socializing with other people is self-care, too. It could improve mental health. It can increase confidence and self-esteem.
Socialization makes a person’s quality of life better. But, because of the existing pandemic, consider digital means when you socialize.
This, too, shall pass
The thing about seniors is they’ve been here longer than anyone did. They saw countless wars, economic downturns, and health crises.
Like everything else, those horrendous events passed. The Covid-19 Pandemic is not different.
Unlike any other catastrophe, though the pandemic targeted the very essence of humanity—connectivity.
In this lockdowned and quarantined world, it will do you good if you know how to practice self-care.
Innovative Homecare Solutions, Inc., is one of the leading home care providers in Illinois. We believe that Aging can be an Awesome experience! We aim to restore dignity and promote independence in the comfort of your own home. To find out more about our services, call us at (630) 225-0100.